If you’ve been wondering why you keep gaining weight or why you can’t lose weight like you used to, the answer could be in how your metabolism works. Your metabolism might be working slower or faster than other people, but aging slows down everyone’s metabolism which makes losing weight more difficult. This is how your metabolism changes and how it makes weight loss more challenging as you age.
What Does Your Metabolism Do?
Your metabolism is a key factor for your weight loss because it’s responsible for taking food and turning it into energy. If you have a high metabolic rate, you can burn calories a lot faster when you’re resting than someone who has a lower metabolic rate (your resting metabolism is how much energy your body requires to complete the basics. When you exercise, you burn more calories on top of that resting metabolism). The bad news is that if your metabolism works at a slower pace, you can’t make it go faster, but the good news is that you can definitely support the process by making healthy choices. (1)
How Age Affects Your Metabolism
In your 20s
Your body doesn’t stop growing when you stop being an adolescent. Your body is still developing even in your 20s, especially your bones and muscles. The growth stimulates your resting metabolism, the type of metabolism that works when you are not active, like when you’re sitting or sleeping. This process burns calories even when you’re doing nothing but resting. (1)
In your 30s and 40s
Even if your metabolism works faster than it does for other people, age can slow the process down. As you age, the muscles that support your bones become smaller whereas the amount of fat that your body stores increases. Muscle weakness and muscle loss can start as early as the age of 30.
Researchers suggest that this change in muscle mass is responsible for the change in your metabolic rate. When your metabolism slows down, you require less energy which means you also need less food. However, if you eat more than your body requires, then your metabolism cannot convert all this fuel into energy and the body stores it as fat. The fat that is created through this process usually ends up in your abdomen. (4)
In your 50s and 60s
Menopause also plays a role in the metabolic changes that you experience. A study reports that when women go through menopause it’s difficult for the body to metabolize fat and as a result, it stores more fat after menopause. (2)
How To Boost Your Metabolism
Research recommends that you can delay the aging process by eating healthy and being physically active. (4)
Eat Whole Foods
Chose to eat whole foods that are healthy and rich vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Avoid refined products and food that is overly processed. Junk food can give you a quick solution to hunger and sometimes it’s comforting to eat salty and sugary foods that satisfy your palate, but whole foods are truly tasty and can fill you up while helping you burn fat.
Check out these healthy breakfast recipes that will help you start your day feeling satisfied and help you lose weight.
Eating healthier and watching your weight doesn’t mean that you have to say ‘no’ to your sweet tooth, so give these chocolate avocado truffles a chance and you won’t regret it.
Since your metabolism replaces the loss of muscle mass with body fat, it’s necessary to exercise and strengthen your muscles. A 6-month study revealed that postmenopausal women who included exercise in their weight loss process had better metabolism than those who did not exercise during the same period. (3)
Do planking exercises which strengthen your upper back muscles and backwards running which strengthens your glutes and lower back muscles. Also try these simple exercises that you can do at home with absolutely no equipment to strengthen your whole body and burn fat.
(1) Goodman, B. (2017). Secrets of Metabolism.
(2) Misso, M. L., Janga, C., Adams, J., Tran, J., Murata, Y., Bella, R., Boon, W. C., Simpson, E. R., & Davis, S. R. (2005). Differential expression of factors involved in fat metabolism with age and the menopause transition. Maturitas, 51(3), 299-306.
(3) Ortmeyer, H. K., Goldberg, A. P., & Ryan, A, S. (2017). Exercise with weight loss improves adipose tissue and skeletal muscle markers of fatty acid metabolism in postmenopausal women. Obesity.
(4) Shimokata, H. & Kuzuya, F. (1993). Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics, 30(7), 572-576.